Day: June 6, 2016

Our favorite spatula


My wife likes this nylon spatula so much that she bought a second one. It’s made from nylon and has just the right amount of flex. It has a very thin edge that slides right under whatever you are cooking in the pan or on the griddle – no more fried eggs with broken yolks. We got rid of the silicone spatula we’d been using because it acquired a soapy smell (has that happened to anyone else?).

Zyliss Nylon Slotted Spatula ($5 on Amazon)

…read more

BuzzFeed axes a $1.3-million ad deal with the RNC over Trump


Before Trump became the Republican nominee, BuzzFeed and the Republican National Committee had struck a $1.3-million deal to run ads in the fall before the general election. But then came Trump, and it looks like his racist comments of the last week were the last straws. According to Politico:

In an email to staff on Monday, BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti explained that in April, the RNC and BuzzFeed signed an agreement to “spend a significant amount on political advertisements slated to run during the Fall election cycle.” But since Trump became the nominee his campaign has proven themselves to be “directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States,” because of proposed bans on Muslim immigration and comments about descendants of immigrants, among other policies.

Read the full story here.

Photo by Michael Vadon

…read more

Rude Cakes - a book about a two-layer cake with an attitude


Rude Cakes

by Rowboat Watkins

Chronicle Books

2015, 40 pages, 9.4 x 9.4 x 0.5 inches

$13 Buy a copy on Amazon

Visual puns, illustrative foreshadowing, relatable characters, and second chances: these are the ingredients that make Rude Cakes such a treat. In a world where the background is fairly barren save for a few flowers that sprout side by side with candy canes and lollipops, Rowboat Watkins’s pouty pink pastry, a two-layer cake with an attitude, takes center stage and shows us how not to behave. Luckily, we also meet a giant cyclops who inadvertently sets the rude cake straight.

Rude Cakes is not only a fun read, it’s cathartic. Grown-ups reading this book aloud to their kids will laugh in commiseration with the pastry parents’ plight of reigning in their frosted tot. For kids, there’s plenty of opportunity for indignant head shaking at the cake’s social foibles, though it’s nearly impossible to do without cracking a smile. Afterall, not even a dessert can be sweet all of the time. And just when you think that cranky cake is going to get what’s coming to him, along comes the giant cyclops to lead by example, all the while making a mistake of his own that literally gives the cake a new outlook on what it feels like not to be heard. For a book without any people in it, every character and snippet of dialogue is truly and hilariously human.

On the surface, this is a funny little picture book about learning how to behave. And even on that level, it’s great. Everyone loves a read-aloud that includes a good yell or two, and Watkins’ narrative illustrations help teach preschoolers to read both images and social cues. But after a few reads, it’s clear just how smart and thoughtful this story really is. In very few words and completely without preaching, Rude Cakes lets us laugh our way through a lesson on social skills and self reflection.

– Marykate Smith Despres

…read more



Avant Garde magazine ran for 16 issues from January 1968 to July 1971. It had a small print run, but is treasured today for its gorgeous design by art director Herb Lubalin. It was edited by photo-journalist Ralph Ginzburg, who was indicted by U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the 1960s for distributing obscene literature through the mails. This website has scans of most of the issues. I would love to have the dead tree version of the complete run.

Avant Garde is a seminal, but somewhat overlooked by a wider public, magazine, which broke taboos, rattled some nerves and made a few enemies. The magazine was the brainchild of Ralph Ginzburg, an eager and zealous publisher, even if the path that led to Avant Garde wasn’t so straightforward. It represents the third major collaboration between Ralph Ginzburg and Herb Lubalin, the magazine’s talented art director. The two previous magazines came to unexpected demise due to their candor and provocativeness, that landed them into legal trouble.







…read more

The Bright-Eye telescope is funded!


Norman Sperling’s fantastic re-imagined AstroScan telescope, the Bright-Eye, has been funded. Thank you all for participating!

Years ago, I asked Mark for a recommendation on a good at-home telescope. He sent me a link to the AstroScan. It looked so cool I immediately bought it. Luckily it is also a damn fine device for viewing the skies!

A few years later the AstroScan was discontinued. This was sad. Lots of people loved the scope! Its inventor, Norman Sperling, crowdfunded an updated release called the Bright Eye. Now you can order a Bright-Eye from Norman direct, info is on the KS page.

You guys! Boing Boing readers! You helped make it possible. Thank you!

Dear Jason,

Thanks largely to your huge boost, the Bright-Eye Kickstarter
succeeded. BoingBoing was by far the greatest source of backers in
the first week, and second only to Kickstarter itself overall.

I am now busily setting up craft production for the first batch of
telescopes. If a major backer shows up, I can quickly convert to
factory production.

Please tell me a postal address to which I can send your promised
handwritten thanks.

Best wishes,


The ‘handwritten thanks’ is the Kickstarter funding thank you for the few dollars I personally put in. I already have an Astroscan, and base, and didn’t need another.

…read more

GOP Trump haters who are now supporting Trump


Daniel Bukszpan of Fortune compiled a list of quotes about GOP apparatchiks who said very bad things about Donald Trump but now think he would make a wonderful president.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

September 15, 2015: “Donald Trump is a madman who must be stopped.”

May 8, 2016: “I am planning to vote for Donald Trump.”

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul

January 25, 2016: “Donald Trump is a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag. A speck of dirt is way more qualified to be president.”

May 5, 2016: “You know, I’ve always said I’ll endorse the nominee.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

January 4, 2016: “Showtime is over. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief. Showmanship is fun, but it is not the kind of leadership that will truly change America.”

February 26, 2016: “There is no one better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership that it needs both at home and around the world than Donald Trump.”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

March 4, 2016: “Donald Trump has been perhaps the most vulgar — no I don’t think perhaps — the most vulgar person to ever aspire to the presidency in terms of how he’s carried out his candidacy.”

May 10, 2016: ”I signed a pledge, put my name on it, and said I would support the Republican nominee and that’s what I intend to do.”

Utah Representative Chris Stewart

March 7, 2016: “He’s our Mussolini… As a Republican, I’m telling you: Donald Trump does not represent Republican ideals.”

May 7, 2016: “While Mr. Trump wasn’t my first choice, we must move forward and unite to defeat Hillary Clinton.”

…read more

US Navy develops diving helmet with HUD

via US Navy

The future is here! US Navy frogmen will no longer fumble with clumsy underwater dive computers, or GPS. I’m pretty sure AquaLung will acquire the US Navy to get ahold of this technology, and will be marketing it at local dive shops soon.

Via the Tech Times:

Professional divers could use any help they can get to make their work easier and more streamlined.

The Navy acknowledges their need: it has built an underwater head-up display (HUD) prototype that allows divers to check their location and tap into sonar data by looking straight ahead, thus eliminating the need for a smartwatch display.

The leader of the research team, Dennis Gallagher, says that “a capability similar to something from an Iron Man movie” is in store to those who will use the new helmet.

To put it shortly, all the relevant information can be viewed “within the helmet.”
Surface sources, such as a ship, can send out information to the Divers Augmented Vision Display (DAVD). Future improvements to the device could bring sonar sensors mounted on the helmet, making it even easier to collect and display info.

…read more

Traffic Simulation lets you create jams and experience the joy of abstract human misery

CARS is exactly what it says it is: a depiction of traffic that you can toy with and bend to your will. A useful reminder that no matter how easy you make it for humans (at least modeled ones) they will turn even the most benign cooperative herd activity into a snarling mess of opportunism and incapacitating self-interest. …read more

For 50 years, a London woman made a living selling the correct time.



As recently as 1939, a London woman made her living by setting her watch precisely at the Greenwich observatory and “carrying the time” to her customers in the city. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll meet Ruth Belville, London’s last time carrier, who conducted her strange occupation for 50 years.

We’ll also sample the colorful history of bicycle races and puzzle over a stymied prizewinner.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

…read more

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast recaps Game of Thrones S6E07, "The Broken Man"

Lyanna Mormont

As season six of HBO’s Game of Thrones continues, characters make returns both expected and incredibly unexpected. Each week following the show, Boars, Gore, and Swords recaps everything that goes down in the world of Westeros. For this week’s “The Broken Man,” Ivan and Red discuss skateboarding preachers, Margaery’s manipulations, Yara’s immersion therapy, and how Lady Mormont is the greatest character on the show even if she’s only ten.

To catch up on previous seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon.

…read more

Muhammad Ali had a personal magic trick teacher


I had no idea Muhammad Ali loved magic. This is a great story about a friendship between a young magician living with the aftereffects of polio, and the world’s greatest athlete.

From Vox:

[Terry] La Sorda took the dare, opened Ali’s pack of cards, and asked Ali to pick a card, any card. Then he gave Ali the deck to put the card back in it without telling the magician where it went. Ali turned his huge back and shuffled the deck.

“He turned around saying ‘You’re never gonna find this card, you’re going to make a fool out of yourself!'” La Sorda recalled.

Then Ali looked up and saw his card dangling from La Sorda’s mouth. Ali dropped the deck in shock.

“The cards fell on the floor and I thought he was going to hit me,” La Sorda said. “One of those huge fists would hit me. Then, suddenly, he’s on the ground, the robe all around him, picking up all the cards … [saying] ‘put another one on me. I like that!'”

For the next two hours, the two men were nose to nose, as La Sorda performed one trick after the other.

La Sorda said that Ali told him that he had asked professional magicians in Las Vegas to teach him magic before, but no one took him seriously. That first night, Ali asked La Sorda who his manager was. La Sorda didn’t have a manager; he wasn’t a professional magician. La Sorda was, instead, an engineer, a burgeoning metallurgist, having first worked with steel when trying to fix a pair of broken polio braces when he was 13 years old.

Ali was surprised, and asked La Sorda how much he made as an engineer. He told him, and Ali said he would double it if he came to work with him, traveling and teaching him magic.

Here’s Ali giving an impromptu performance to some pro wrestlers at an airport:

…read more

Hear Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali's spoken word album from 1963


In August 1963, Cassius Clay released a spoken word/musical LP titled “I Am The Greatest.” This was before he became the heavyweight champion of the world and renamed himself Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam. Here is the title track from that album, which was also released as two different 7″ singles. The first single’s b-side was a song called “Will The Real Sonny Liston Please Fall Down,” (released after Ali beat Liston), and the second was a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” both below:

…read more

"Prolific litigant" bought $40 used printer then sued seller for $30,000


Doug Costello, 66, sold a printer on craigslist for $40. The buyer—described as a “prolific, abusive litigant”—alleged it was broken and sued him claiming astronomical damages. The resulting artisanal interstate legal snarl has cost Costello $12,000 so far. USA Today reports on a mess that’s still not over after 7 years.

The printer’s buyer was Gersh Zavodnik, a 54-year-old Indianapolis man known to many in the legal community as a frequent lawsuit filer who also represents himself in court. The Indiana Supreme Court said the “prolific, abusive litigant” has brought dozens of lawsuits against individuals and businesses, often asking for astronomical damages. Most, according to court records, involve online sales and transactions.

Small claims court wasn’t interested, but Zavodnik’s pro se actions were relentless. Even though they were insane, that’s the point: Costello’s failure to respond meant a default verdict for the plaintiff.

Zavodnik also had sent Costello two more requests for admissions. One asked Costello to admit that he conspired with the judge presiding over the case, and that he was liable for more than $300,000. Another one requested Costello to admit that he was liable for more than $600,000.

And so was necessitated the hiring of very expensive lawywers. Zavodnik appears to be a master of plinking the legal system until he shops his way to a useful-enough judge.

Wuertz said the case went through several Marion County judges, many of whom recused themselves. At one point, Zavodnik sought to have a judge removed, and the Supreme Court appointed a special judge from Boone County. Finally, in March 2015 — six years after Costello sold the printer — Special Judge J. Jeffrey Edens issued a ruling. He awarded Zavodnik a judgment of $30,044.07 for breach of contract.

The ruling was overturned on appeal: “the trial court abused its discretion,” wrote Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik, issuing an award “with no basis in reality” using logic that “would have granted Zavodnik a judgment for $600,000, or $6,000,000, or $60,000,000, if Zavodnik had simply linked such an amount to the phrase “for breaching the legally binding contract.””

Seven years of this.

…read more

Enter to win a $1,000 Steam shopping spree!

If you’re a hardcore gamer, then Steam likely occupies more of your time than you’d care to admit. With its endless collection of recent and time-honored hits, you could spend a fortune building your game library and still only scratch the surface of what’s offered.

So…why don’t you spend Boing Boing’s money instead?

You will if you win our $1,000 Steam Giveaway. Be the lucky winner, and you’ll instantly have access to $1,000 in Steam cash, ready for you to start gobbling up titles from any of the 3,500 games covering every genre of gaming.

How do you win? Just sign up via Facebook or email, and then be that lucky person who gets their name randomly selected. You can even earn an extra shot at the big prize if a friend of yours (21 or older) also enters by following the Additional Entry instructions on the screen.

Enter now — registration ends soon.

…read more

Britain meets its "first 101-year-old court defendant"


The Guardian reports that Ralph Clarke, facing charges of child abuse dating to the 20th century, is believed to be Britain’s oldest court defendant.

Clarke, who was born in March 1915, is alleged to have committed 17 indecent assaults, 12 offences of indecency with a child, and two attempted serious sexual offences between 1974 and 1983. During a 40-minute court appearance, Clarke turned down the offer of a hearing loop, telling the court clerk his hearing aid had a new battery.

None of the articles I found sourced their claim, though. ‘Believed to be’ is reporterese for ‘just guessing.’ Outside the UK, Clarke’s seemingly beat by 102-year-old Massachusetts murder suspect Laura Lundquist, but it’s not clear if she ever appeared in court (she was charged and subject to hearings, but did not have to face trial due to dementia.)

…read more

John Oliver buys and forgives $15M in medical debt, illustrates horrors of America's debt-collectors

animation (2)

John Oliver now holds the American record for largest single giveaway in history, doubling Oprah’s “you get a car!” record — but Oliver did it by forming a debt-collection agency and buying up the debt of Americans who’d defaulted on the sky-high expenses from life-threatening illnesses, then forgiving the debts.

…read more

Stanford rapist's dad says jail time is "a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action"

Convicted rapist Brock Turner

The father of Brock Turner, convicted of raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, told the court that imprisonment would be “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action


Turner, 20, faced up to 14 years in prison; prosecutors asked for 6 years; judge Aaron Persky gave him 6 months; and he’ll be out in weeks. Persky deemed that a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on him. Dan Turner’s letter, described as “impossibly offensive,” also claims that the rape was not violent.

But at least you know how long it lasted, and where the boy got his problem from.

…read more

Monsters from The Grudge and The Ring square off for first pitch at Japanese baseball game

animation (1)

A promo for “Sadako vs. Kayako,” a forthcoming movie in which the monsters from J-horror classics The Ring and The Grudge fight one another, saw the two of them playing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball game, with The Ring’s Sadako pitching a 96km/h ball to The Grudge‘s Kayako, who handed off running duties to Toshio.

…read more

Britons! The Snoopers Charter is being debated today! Tweet your MP!


Today, Parliament is debating the Snoopers Charter, a wide-ranging mass-scale domestic surveillance law that allows government agencies to peer into the most intimate details of your life, conscripting internet and technology companies as participants in surveillance, with only the thinnest veneer of checks and balances and accountability for the inevitable abuse.

…read more